While CUNA debated who would take over the corner office, I sincerely felt it should be someone from within the industry. At the same time, my gut and some people in the know were saying no way; CUNA would select another Washington insider to fill Dan Mica's shoes. That prompted me to write this column regarding CUNA's next president/CEO about a month ago now.
Well, today CUNA announced that Bill Cheney, president/CEO of the California/Nevada Credit Union Leagues would be CUNA's leader as of July 5. I really believe it was the best move for the credit union industry at this time to select someone who's served in a credit union as well as in a credit union trade association. Dan Mica brought credit unions credibility on Capitol Hill when they were working to pass H.R. 1151. Now, the industry is having financial and operational issues and a credit union insider was called for.
I just spoke with Cheney, and he said his No. 1 priority was a smooth transition. He also noted the multitude of issue credit unions are dealing with in Washington from business lending to interchange to alternative capital to overdraft restrictions.
Cheney's experience on the NAFCU Board lends him a unique perspective on trade association activities. He said that whether CUNA and NAFCU should merge or take the best of both and create a new entity was ultimately for the credit unions to decide. Personally, he said, over time he believes it would be beneficial to credit unions if the industry spoke with one voice in Washington.